Churchill Downs taps Mobilitie for DAS upgrade ahead of Kentucky Derby

horseTexting and calling on Kentucky Derby day should work a lot better for fans at the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack this weekend, thanks to a recent doubling of the facility’s DAS infrastructure.

According to infrastructure deployer Mobilitie, the 140th running of the Derby and other associated races is expected to attract more than 260,000 fans to the Louisville, Ky., home of perhaps the world’s most famous thoroughbred event. With coverage improvements that Mobilitie said effectively doubles the capacity of the previous distributed antenna system (DAS) installment, fans should have better cellular coverage in more areas, including the track’s parking lot and other outside areas.

A Mobilitie press release said that the upgraded DAS will cover all six levels and basement in the Churchill Downs main building, and will also cover all of the grandstands, the parking areas and the newly installed Grandstand Terrace. In addition, Mobilitie said new coverage will also support temporary hospitality suites as well as the entire infield area. Mobilitie said the DAS system is one of the largest in the country, with more than 253 antennas and over 1 million feet of fiber optic cable installed throughout the venue. So far, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have signed on to use the DAS, which means that for this year at least most wireless customers will have access to improved connectivity. According to Mobilitie, both carriers’ 4G LTE signals will be supported by the neutral DAS.

FastBet app screen shot

FastBet app screen shot

“Since 2003, Churchill Downs has invested $160 million into improving the onsite customer experience for guests attending the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby,” said Ryan Jordan, general manager of Churchill Downs, in a prepared statement. “A major part of the live event experience is ensuring that fans maintain connectivity to their social networks. As a result of the upgrades that Mobilitie made this year, our guests with smartphone service from participating carriers will be able to share those memorable experiences as they happen live with their entire network.”

Fans at the race can also use smartphones to bet on the races via their mobile devices, using the track’s Wi-Fi network that covers a large segment of the main building’s stands and suites. According to the Churchill Downs website, the FastBet Mobile system only works on the track’s Wi-Fi network, most likely due to security and billing requirements. A map shows which areas of the stands are covered by Wi-Fi.

Mobile Sports Gamblers Bet More and More Often, Report Says

In 2011, the average gambler using a mobile device to be on sports wagered 30 percent more and 29 percent more often than gamblers using desktop and laptop computers, according to a  just-released Sports Agent Blog report. And during the year, sports betting has become 50 percent of the global gaming marketplace.

With the price points of mobile phones and tablets declining, mobile sports betting will expand in 2012, and online gaming companies must improve mobile sports betting interfaces in order to continue to grow, Sports Agent Blog said.

The data was used to prompt online sports books to expand their development of applications for mobile devices. Today, most online sports books provide only an e-commerce user interface that allows access to their accounts, and betting. The use of sports social media and richer content is a necessity because the audience is valuable and growing, Sports Agent Blog said.

Traditionally, the mobile betting arm of an online gambling operator was situated as a utility piece for registered members…  It is very apparent that the use of mobile betting interfaces as a value added option for members is no longer a competitive position for operators to take.

Cantor Gaming Expects NBA Christmas Day Mobile Device Betting Boom

Cantor Gaming favors Miami Heat to win NBA championship

Cantor Gaming, the Las Vegas-based company poised to take advantage of nationwide gambling on mobile devices when it is legalized across the United States, said Wednesday that it expects pent-up demand for NBA wagering to drive audiences to wager on Christmas Day, when five games tip-off the 66-game regular season, according to a Sacramento Bee report.

Mike Colbert, Cantor’s Race & Sports Book Risk Director, said:

“The Heat are the favorite to win this year’s championship, followed by the Lakers, Bulls, Thunder, and Mavs.”

In the state of Nevada, Cantor’s Android-compatible mobile sports wagering application already allows people to bet on games. In addition, Cantor is an innovator in “in-running” gambling, which allows gamblers to bet on propositions as the game develops. For example, if the Heat’s LeBron James has racked up 40 points by the end of the third quarter of a game, Cantor may present a proposition on whether James will go over or under 53 total points in the game.

Reform to the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act and The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, are needed in order to allow legal sports betting on mobile devices across the United States.

Today, because of Federal law, an estimated $380 billion annually in illegal sports betting is conducted in the United States annually, according to National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Much of that is conducted through the online portals of offshore casinos, which are widely known to provide poor customer service and slow payouts. Reform would prove a boom for mobile device application developers.

Research firm Gartner Group estimated that global mobile gaming revenues reached $5.6 billion in 2010, and predicted the market would grow to $11.4 billion dollars by 2014.